Tuesday 23rd June 2020

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Spurs 2 West Ham 0

Spurs earned a vital 2-0 win in their pursuit of European football, which was doubly satisfying as they plunged West Ham into further relegation trouble.

After letting a 1–0 lead slip to draw with Manchester United on Friday, Spurs needed to improve against the Hammers to justify suggestions that they are among the biggest beneficiaries of the lockdown. A fortuitous own goal by Tomas Soucek and Harry Kane’s late strike ensured Spurs kept the pressure on United in the race for fifth. For Mourinho, the victory and a solid performance was justification of his persistent claims that his side would only improve once he had a full roster of attackers at his disposal.

Having been without Kane, Heung-min Son, Steven Bergwijn and Moussa Sissoko before lockdown, Mourinho surprisingly blamed the draw with United on the absence of Dele Alli and Lucas Moura. Both returned to the XI against the Hammers, leaving the manager without any excuses if his team failed to deliver in the final third.

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To the Portuguese’s credit, Spurs plugged away and eventually exploited the gaps in West Ham’s defence, with Son unlucky to see a 43rd-minute goal ruled out by the VAR for a fractional offside before Soucek’s turned into his own net from Giovani Lo Celso’s corner to break the deadlock. West Ham, meanwhile, now have one win in nine and are increasing threatened by a financially devastating drop after consecutive defeats in Project Restart.

Kane was anonymous in the first 25 minutes but gradually grew in threat and influence until he was troubling the West Ham defence with almost every attack. After missing a string of chances which showed his rust, Kane raced onto Son’s pass in the 82nd-minute and finished cooly, to send Mourinho wild.

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Kane himself celebrated by sprawling on his front, expressive of pure relief after a frustrating 112 minutes of the Premier League restart.

While his performance was not vintage, it was a significant improvement on United and will silence his latest doubters. As Mourinho said, Kane only needed time and minutes to find his feet after such a long layoff

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